The typical response some of us women of color seem to get when we express our frustrations and exhaustion with the current systems we have to navigate and live in on a daily basis seems to always some variant of “Well, why don’t you run for office?” If I had a penny for every time I have been told that (especially from allies and folx of the majority), I wouldn’t need a job anymore.
While that type of response has several layers of problems, two of the main obstacles women of color encounter who actually dare to do just that are (1) not knowing where to start and (2) not having the funds.
At this year’s WakandaCon, Speak Truth led a panel on just that topic. As part of Speak Truth’s “We See You” series, the panel candidly dissected the difficulties women of color face when running for office especially when it comes to financial support, including from their own communities. ( You can watch our entire panel discussion here).
Women of color, especially black women, are the first to be civically engaged as voters and a growing number of them are also aiming at assuming leadership roles in public office. But, then we observe the same phenomenon occurring: initially there is a lot praise, celebration, and cheerleading … but that is where most of it also ends. Black women running for office are the least supported demographic when it comes to financial support.
Another component of this is the rest of the community thinks “Well, I don’t have any money, so I can’t really support these women.” WRONG! If you think you cannot support women of color financially (although you just made a 2 a.m. purchase on Amazon), you can help in other ways. Keep reading!
In true “black women always get sh*t done” fashion, Mae Whiteside brought a solution to the problem by founding the Flourish PAC, a political action committee (PAC) to raise money for women of color running for office.
Mae is native of Chicago who volunteered in her first mayoral campaign in 2011. In 2016, she was a presidential campaign fellow for Hillary For America. Mae understands specifically what it takes to seek, train, and retain volunteers. As a trained campaign fellow at the Democratic Party of Wisconsin for the 2016 presidential campaign, she learned the basics of recruitment, how to get volunteers, creation of training program as well as social media aspects of a well run volunteer program.
“So, what do I do now?” you ask? Well, Flourish PAC is proud to announce the “Illinois Black Campaign Academy,” an ambitious effort of Flourish PAC to create, train, and develop a pipeline of African Americans ready to be hired in every role in a campaign…from campaign manager to field coordinator to fundraiser. You will learn the business of elections from a variety of trainers whose backgrounds span both politics and business. The event will take place on Sunday, August 25, 2019, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Lunch will be provided.
Topics will include:
The Roles and Responsibilities of a Campaign Manager
How to Develop a Campaign Strategy
How to Identify Super Volunteers
Create, Deploy & Execute a Field Plan
Campaign Finance 101
Voter Mobilization and Coordination
Anyone Can Be a Superstar Fundraiser, Why Not Me?
Compliance: How to Understand & Apply the Campaign Disclosure Guide & Accounting 101
How to Conduct Opposition Research
So! No more excuses, hesitancy, or pleading ignorance! You now have at least one way to effectively and financially support women of color running for office and/or can equip yourself with the necessary knowledge to run a campaign.
To get your ticket, click here!